Design Thinking is a mindset that comes with an extensive toolbox. For Service Designers using the toolbox it is a feast: we can adjust the tools to what we need them to do. The same way a carpenter uses his chisels. First, you learn to understand which chisel gives which effect. Then, you start testing if a different chisel can create a similar or new effect. Finally, you end with testing on various materials and sharpening your own chisels, to match a variety of purposes. 

I am very fond of the simplicity of a stakeholder map. It seems simple: we place the challenge in the center, add our key players, pick one or two and move on into creating their persona and customer journey. But the amount of learning and the easiness to play around with this tool is magnificent. Just use sticky notes to do the job, a map is never static and might change!

Let me take you through 5 tips of using a stakeholder map. 

  1. In the setting of working with a B2B customer it could work to divide the stakeholder maps in quadrants. For example: internal stakeholders, client stakeholders, the customer of your client and other external stakeholders. Have a look if the stakeholders are aware of the variety of other stakeholders.
  2. At the center of the stakeholder map normally stands the challenge. Are you trying to reach the main stakeholder? Place her in the center and notice what changes. Perhaps you will find who are in the closest circle of influence.

  3. Want to know how the value streams and communication between stakeholders in your ecosystem exist? Show the interaction between the stakeholders with arrows in your map. To enrich the information you could add the gains and losses of each interaction.

  4. Wondering how to reach your stakeholders? Fill out all the stakeholders and add another layer of knowledge: where do they get their information? You could divide that in what they search for and what they might give to this platform. This tells you whether you are all fishing in the same pond, or if there are other networks that you might want to tap into. 
  5. Tapping into your network: who are the connectors and who are the followers? Are the connectors perhaps connected also to more aspects of your challenge?
  6. You get one bonus tip: when you are ready to start rolling out new ideas it is helpful to place your stakeholders in a maturity matrix. Soon you’ll understand where to start conversations and shifting people to where they are ready for change.

Want to have a conversation with us about finding, using and guiding stakeholders, have a chat with one of our experts!  

This blog was written by Nina Pennock, Service Designer at the Nextview Design Thinking Center.